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If you like Herschel Walker's story, you might also like:
Hank Aaron,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
Roger Bannister,
Julius Erving,
James Earl Jones,
Peyton Manning,
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and Bill Russell

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Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker
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Herschel Walker Interview (page: 5 / 8)

All-American Football Player

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  Herschel Walker

What's been your biggest challenge? What's been the hardest thing you've had to overcome?

Herschel Walker: The hardest thing I had to overcome in life? I think racism. That's so difficult because I don't think anyone can ever understand it. It's not the point that people don't want to understand it, but they don't want to touch it. So, like, that's a subject we can't touch, lets get away from it. But you know, it's there. And as long as it's there you got to cope with it. With me, I'm always the type of person, if something is in front of me, let me deal with it. Lets not push it under the rug, or push it to the side because, no matter what, it's going to keep coming up. You know, if you never deal with that dirt up under the carpet, it's going to get larger and larger, and it's going to keep coming up. Little bit by little, it's going to seep from underneath that carpet. So you deal with it now. You're going to try to get those piles out. I think that's been the most difficult thing.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

How do you deal with something like that?

Herschel Walker: I think believing within yourself. Believing that no one is better than the other.

I grew up in the South. My senior year was a very big racial - the tension in my home town was a very big deal. It's tough, but you're knowing who you are, and you're knowing that no white's no better than you, Herschel, you're no better than they are. And, I think the biggest thing to help me to overcome is when it's all said and done, God is not going to have a list and say, "Oh, geez. You're white, so you are going in. You're black, you're not," or "You're black, you're coming in. You are white, you're not." God don't care. My mother once told me -- this is almost similar to it -- I was going to church one Sunday, and I didn't want to go. I was tired of going to church and stuff. And I hid my shoes, I didn't want to go. It's funny because I went in to my mother, and she said, "You ready to go to church?" And I said, "No, I can't go." She said "Why?" I said, "I don't have any shoes." You know, you only had one pair of Sunday shoes. And I said, "I don't have any shoes to go." And she said, "No, you can come on and go," and I said "I don't have any shoes." She said, "God don't care how you look." I thought about it, and you know, that's true. God don't care how you look. He don't care whether you are white, black, pink. As long as you've been a good person and you believe in Him. And, I said, "That's the key."

[ Key to Success ] Courage

I think we are always putting things in categories. We've got to put someone in a category. He's this, he's that, he's this. You know, that doesn't matter, as long as he can do the job. I think that's what counts.

You are out there in the public eye. You are a professional athlete. You must read the sports pages...

I never read an article about myself. Since I've been playing I've never read anything about myself. I'm not a big sports page reader. I don't read sports pages. One reason was, I don't read about myself because I know myself better than the person that's writing the article. I don't read a lot of the sports because I think people sometimes either build it up, or you have this guy that hates sports that is going to write bad about it, so I figure I'm not going to read it. Because I'm not going to let him put an idea into my head. I think reporters do not realize that they do that. They will continue to say, "We are giving the news." But you put a idea in someone's head. They take an athlete, they build this athlete up, the kids look up to him, and make him the best thing in the world, and this athlete make one mistake, they write bad about him, saying he's a bum, he's this, he's that. Then on the next day, they build him back up again. So a kid may get that idea, and say, hey, I can do that. I can be great, and I can make a mistake, and I'll go down and come right back up. That's not the way life is. And I think when you are writing an article, I feel, you've got to put what's true. You can't fabricate. You can't just build it up. You know, if you want to write for the National Enquirer, you do that, but if you are going to write for the people, lets' write. You got to use the pen in the correct way. That's the reason why I don't read a lot of sports stuff.

I've read that one thing that you had to do to build yourself up was an incredible amount of push-ups and wind sprints. I mean, give us an idea of the kinds of things you had to do to get to where you wanted to be.

Herschel Walker: I didn't grow up - my parents didn't have a lot of money. My high school didn't have a lot of money to afford a lot of the expensive weights. You know all this stuff. They used that as an excuse. I started doing push-ups and sit-ups during commercials as I was watching TV. And started doing about, sometimes 2,000 push-ups, 3,000 sit-ups, 1500 pull-ups, 1000 dips, or different things like that. I started creating different hand positions for all that, then I learned that could work you out.

[ Key to Success ] Preparation

In the olden days, that's what people used to do. People sit around now saying, "Let me create this machine that will work this muscle here for someone, and I can make a billion dollars." He don't even use the machine, but he wants to create it so that he can make money off of it. But I'm doing it to work myself. I have a lot of people that write to me saying "Herschel, why don't you come train me, I'll pay you this, I'll pay you that." And I say no. Your body is different from my body. This may work good for you and not work good for me. Or good for me and not so good for you. I just can't just say this is going to be great for you. Probably it will help you a little bit. But there may be another thing that you need to do, that will be a little bit better.

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This page last revised on Sep 28, 2010 21:18 EST
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